This recap contains spoilers from Episode 7 of DC’s Stargirl (which premieres new episodes Monday on DC Universe and Tuesday on The CW).
DC’s Stargirl this week got very interesting, tunneling beneath the fun, bubbly artifice of its inherent premise to shed light on the dark underpinnings of one of Courtney’s classmates… reveal what has (at least theoretically) been eating at Mike all this time… and add to the show’s mythology by weaving in someone we’ve only met before in passing.
Following a breezy montage in which Court greeted the Cosmic Staff good morning, Rick etched Hourman’s logo into the tree where his parents died, Yolanda worked out in the gym and Beth performed bathroom karaoke with Chuck, we saw a hint that Courtney and Pat’s secret world is at risk of unraveling. A reference to “training” overheard by Mike leads to an elaborate lie about Pat teaching Courtney how to drive, which in turn irks Barbara, who is feeling left out. “I should tell you everything,” an apologetic Pat tells his wife, before Court waves him off.
Over at the hospital, Cindy finds Henry brooding at his father’s bedside. She’s looking to lock down homecoming dance plans, but Henry is in no mood. Cindy takes out her frustrations on Jenny at school, promoting her minion to ask on behalf of all of us, “Why are you such a bitch?” Saying she needs a “break” from her mean girl bestie, Jenny peaces out. When Cindy hisses at the bearded Janitor we first glimpsed a couple weeks ago, swatting down his mom, Courtney darts over to help him — and he in turn thanks “m’lady.” Afterward, we see that in Janitor’s dank closet is a chalice… and an ornate sword.
On her way into school, following her own brusque encounter with Cindy, Courtney learned from Beth that Cindy’s mother died years ago, and her father has remarried twice since then. Also of note, Cindy at one point during it all got “scary, overnight.” Later in chemistry class, Courtney convinces Cindy to be partners with her, sharing along that way that she too lost a parent. Proving quite proficient at chemistry, Cindy explains that as a kid, she and her scientist dad did “experiments for fun.” As the girls ace their assignment for the day, Cindy invites Courtney to hang out with her Saturday night, instead of going to the “lame” homecoming dance. And Courtney gladly accepts.
After school, Pat brings Courtney, Yolanda, Rick and Beth to his auto shop, inside of which he has set up a lo-fi training course, with mop buckets and the like representing ISA baddies. He then gives them the 411 on the known local villains, touting Sportsmaster’s fighting skills, the “sadistic” Tigress, the portly but “cunning” Gambler. Impatient for some actual training, Court and the Cosmic Staff make quick work of the mop bucket enemies, wrecking the course before any of the frustrated others get a crack at it. Oops.
When Cindy returns home after school, we gain allllll kinds of additional insight into her wildly weird world. For one, her latest stepmom is Stepford-like dutiful and desperate to please Cindy — to the point that, despite her orders (programming?) from husband Dr. Ito, she fetches her teen stepkid some pinot noir. Cindy proceeds to visit her father unannounced — a big no-no — by entering his lab via keypad, and then descending a series of staircases to the ISA lair, scoffing at Solomon Grundy along the way. Cindy overhears Crusher giving the others a play-by-play of his and Paula’s faceoff with Stargirl & Co. Paula wants to get their respective kids involved in the investigation into this junior-size JSA, but Jordan nips that notion in the bud.
Cindy is grabbed from her eavesdropping perch, and brought to her father’s lab down the hall. She makes clear that she is bored with teen life, and to prove her point/skills, produces a blade from her shirt cuff and nonchalantly slashes one of Dad’s carefully cultivated assistants. Noting that hasty Cindy has learned “nothing” from her mother’s death, Dr. Ito reminds her that he gave her powers to protect herself, not to “enhance tantrums.” When Cindy makes heart eyes at a costume and scepter on display, her dad implores her to stay focused on Henry, whom she apparently was tasked with monitoring, in case he exhibits the same powers as his father, Brainwave.
With Barbara off on a business trip to Oakville (accompanying Jordan for American Dream’s purchase of an old sewing machine factory), Courtney attends the homecoming game with Pat and Mike. When Pat goes to fetch some food after another conspicuously coded exchange with Courtney, Mike tears into his stepsister a bit, saying, “He’s my dad, not yours!” He notes that Courtney doesn’t see Mike at her mom’s hip 24/7. “Pat and I have been through a lot, more than you know,” Mike shares, before huffing off.
Cameron Mahkent slides onto the empty bleacher beside Courtney, to ask her to the dance. She stammers in the course of giddily accepting, eventually explaining that she had plans with Cindy that she will simply reschedule. Nothing is simple with cheerleader Cindy, though. She does not take kindly to the change in plans and sniffs at her almost-new friend, declaring them done “forever.” Heading back to the stands, Court sees Principal Bowin acting suspiciously, so she follows her to her office, covertly observing as Bowin grabs her violin and slips behind a secret door. After suiting up, Court uses the Cosmic Staff to pop open the secret door, behind which she descends (you guessed it) a series of steps, unwittingly triggering a motion sensor along the way. Cindy, in her dad’s lab, spots Stargirl on the CCTV and puts on the Shiv suit she eyeballed earlier. And just as Stargirl emerges from the tunnel — outside school lockers, somewhat oddly — Shiv shows up to start whaling on her.
Taking their scuffle to the gym where the dance is to be held, the gals slug it out, trading Cosmic Staff zaps and fiery scepter blasts. At one point, Stagirl’s staff seriously char-broils Cindy’s face… which then miraculously heals, while its wearer smirks. Shiv eventually gains the upper hand is about do deliver to Stargirl a finishing blow, when Janitor shows up and blocks her strike with his sword. Shiv scampers away, while the Cosmic Staff darts off to find Pat and bring him to KO’d Courtney. As Pat tends to brutally banged-up Stargirl, Janitor in the shadows remarks to himself, “Stripesy…?”
What did you think of the episode “Shiv Part 1”?